Hello and welcome to my blog!!!! If you’ve found this page and are reading this post it tells me that you are looking for more information, validation, and hope. I am excited to share with you about mental health, specifically trauma, borderline personality disorder, and narcissistic abuse. Who am I and why have I come to love these three populations… Well, I am a psychodynamic psychotherapist and narcissistic abuse survivor. I struggled with low self-esteem and depression early in my life. Growing up in a time where mental health and mental health care were not front and center like they are now. I struggled in silence for years before finding really great medication, support, and therapy. These struggles made me vulnerable to my narcissistic partner, whom I met at age 17.
Today I am free of abuse. Healing, remains a journey and it is a journey that I embrace. I am more fully myself than I have ever had the freedom to be in my life. I laugh out loud. No longer apologize for my own thoughts or feelings. I make decisions that are best for me. It hasn’t been easy but it has been worth it!
This blog may include some of my own personal experiences from my relationship with someone with narcissistic personality traits/NPD. This is not to denigrate him, but to highlight what narcissism looks like in action. I hope my story can provide hope for healing and challenge that popular notion of becoming the narcissist’s worst nightmare. My purpose is to help you keep your dignity and integrity as you decide what is best for you in your relationships. Just know that keeping your dignity and integrity doesn’t mean bowing to another person’s will. Oh no! It means, first, understanding what is happening in your relationship. Then how to respond and set limits in healthy and meaningful ways.
I have been a social worker for 30 years. I came to the world of therapy later after raising my children. Life taught me there weren’t enough experienced therapists in my rural area of Iowa. My partner at the time was not supportive of my going back to school to get my master’s degree. I chose to do it anyway because it was important. He was very against my working towards a PhD in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. His mom told me on the day of my graduation from my master’s program, “not to go on with school because D doesn’t want you to.” Nothing says happy graduation day like hearing you have little to no family support!
What my PhD education gave me was a broader understanding of trauma and how it leads to personality disorder traits or full-blown personality disorders. I discovered that I have compassion and empathy for those with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) because it is born out of trauma. In the 6+ year mental health career, I have worked extensively with those with BPD. I believe that the genuine caring and empathy I develop with clients with BPD or BPD traits helps me to challenge the behaviors that cause relationship problems and open the possibility for change. I really enjoy helping family members understand their loved one with BPD. This creates a framework for family’s to understand what is happening, why their loved one acts the ways they do. Then how to set limits and boundaries that are healthy and sustainable.
The umbrella that encompasses all of this work is trauma. Trauma is not about the “what” of what happened to a person. Instead it is about how overwhelming what happened was to a person. This means that what was traumatic to one person may not be for another! Trauma is apples and oranges, you cannot compare. It’s so important for those with trauma to understand what happened to them and how it affected them. How their views of the world are changed by trauma, and how to use this understanding to help move forward. Without understanding we tend to make the same mistakes over and over again. This happens because we learn what we live to be “normal.” Everyone can learn a new normal and move ahead to a healthier, more peace filled life!